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ODU Hosting Hampton Roads Conference for Girls and Young Women May 17

Ashley SmithAshley Smith

The Sixth Annual Hampton Roads Conference for Girls and Young Women, hosted by Old Dominion University on Saturday, May 17, will demonstrate the power, opportunity and risk of online interactions to an audience of 400 girls, young women and their parents.

"Girls Rule the World, and the Internet Too" is the theme of the conference, which will bring together role models and community leaders to provide inspiration, advice and leadership. During the 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. conference, participants will gather in ODU's Webb Center to attend workshops and take part in hands-on activities that build leadership skills, facilitate career development, and promote active and healthy lifestyles and self-esteem.

The mission of the conference is to provide a forum for girls, young women and their parents to learn about critical issues, share experiences and encourage informed choices and good decisions. To register online, see: http://girlsruletheworld.eventbrite.com.

WVEC-TV reporter Ashley Smith will deliver the keynote address. Miss United States 2011 and an ODU graduate, Smith is the traffic reporter for "13News Daybreak," airing weekday mornings from 4:30-7 a.m. Before joining the "Daybreak" team, Smith was an anchor and reporter for WCTV, the local education and municipal television station for the city of Chesapeake.

Smith, who is the minister of music at New Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Chesapeake, participated in pageants for seven years. As Miss United States 2011, she travelled more than 25,000 miles nationwide, making nearly 250 appearances promoting her platform of breast cancer awareness.

Other conference speakers include Gretchen Edwards-Bodmer of the ODU Women's Center, who will talk about the value of girlfriends; counselor Lori Hobson, speaking about girls making themselves president of their own fan clubs; and three executives from Urbanbutterfly, who will address the positive and negative impact social media can have on young girls' lives.

Barbara Hamm Lee, host and executive producer of WHRO-TV's "Another View," will introduce the speakers and serve as moderator for the conference.

The event includes workshops for both young girls and parents, different in focus but with the joint goal of helping young women build a foundation for sustainable success for the rest of their lives.

For more information about the conference, call 683-3116. Like the Hampton Roads Conference for Girls and Young Women on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GirlsRuleTheWorldHR, and follow the event through its Twitter hashtag, #GirlsRule.